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Parents resume sit-in at school field house

Some parents in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood have resumed a sit-in at the Whittier Elementary School field house. Their protest concerns the fate of that building and the location of a library for the school.

A plan by Mayor Richard Daley’s administration to tear down the field house led to a month-long sit-in last fall by the parents and their supporters. The occupation ended after the district promised to spare the building and provide a library.

But the sides never agreed on the library’s location.

On Thursday, the district sent a dump truck and construction workers to Whittier. Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Becky Carroll says the crew’s job was to clear space for the library within the main building.

“That room is not ADA accessible,” says Lisa Angonese, who has two kids in Whittier. “It’s one room. And they are going to demolish the field house and replace it with [artificial] turf.”

About two dozen Whittier parents and neighborhood activists were successful in turning away the crew. They want the library in the field house.

In a letter to the parents last week, new CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard said he supported the agreement to leave the field house standing. But the letter said putting the library in the main building remained “the best option.”

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